#BookClub – Alignment for Success: Bringing Out the Best in Yourself, Your Teams, and Your Company, Part 1 – Alignment

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Alignment for SuccessA colleague recommended this book by Katharine Halpin, it sounded interesting so I downloaded it.  I didn’t realize that Katharine was here in Phoenix and provides coaching and consulting services to a wide variety of clients.

It’s a quick and easy read, but chockful of great ideas to help leaders at all levels in an organization align goals and expectations to ensure success.  So many ideas that I’m going to have a few posts so that this one doesn’t get too long.

Halpin quotes Arianna Huffington’s view when discussing what workplace culture looks like today.   From an interview in Science of the Mind Magazine: “The Western workplace culture – exported to many other parts of the world – is fueled by stress, sleep deprivation and burnout. Even as stress undermines our health, the sleep deprivation so many of us experience in striving to get ahead at work is profoundly and negatively affecting our creativity, our productivity and our decision making.”

Sound familiar?

She suggests that all leaders in high-performing organizations should embrace the need for alignment.  According to her, alignment doesn’t mean nodding your head in agreement, but that every person at every level understands the vision and purpose of the entire organization and how their activities fulfill the vision each and every day.

Easier said than done.  So how do you get alignment?  From the top down and the bottom up, open and honest communication that gets the right people into the right roles doing the right things.

What is alignment? Alignment comes when our actions express our values. When clarity, transparency, engagement, and empowerment means people are doing their best work.

A leader who embraces the concept of alignment, encourages and welcomes every idea, concern, and challenge to the status quo and ensures that everyone feels free to speak up. We need our teams to know and believe that their voice will be heard.

Leaders bear the responsibility for communicating the organization’s vision in everything they do, everywhere they go, to all their people. The leader’s ability to consistently champion the cause of the vision is when you’ll start to achieve alignment.

Paraphrasing a bit, here are some questions to consider as you begin the process of alignment:

  • Am I clear on what I need from the very beginning?
  • How effectively am I communicating those expectations to the team?
  • Am I putting in enough effort into securing their commitment to fulfilling those expectations, or did I just assume they were on the same page as me?
  • Will everyone have a chance to articulate all their concerns so we could anticipate future stumbling blocks?
  • Will I create an environment so even the most hesitant team member will feel comfortable to speak up with questions and concerns?
  • Does the team have the right people in the right roles based on their strengths and abilities?
  • Do the team members have a clear commitment to the team success on this project?
  • How will I know how committed they are?
  • Does everyone on the team have all the resources they need to succeed? If not, how could I have helped them get those resources?

As Halpin says, honest communication when conveying ideas and discussing concerns in a manner that brings forth a variety of stakeholders’ unique perspectives will set you on the path to a fully aligned organization.

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

3 Comments

  1. Abbie, Thank you for this phenomenal review! I’m so appreciate your willingness to share the value of Alignment for Success: Bringing Out the Best in Yourself, Your Teams and Your Company. Your synopsis is better than the original. BTW, we met years and years ago – sometime between 1997 and 1999 – when you came to the Cactus Pines Girl Scout Council’s Camp CEO in Prescott to speak. I was a volunteer Camp Counselor for that program for those 3 years.

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